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William Shakespeare Facts

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor. He was born on 26 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. His father was a successful local businessman and his mother was the daughter of a landowner. Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and nicknamed the Bard of Avon. He wrote about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Marriage and career

Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18. She was eight years older than him. They had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. After his marriage information about his life became very rare. But he is thought to have spent most of his time in London writing and performing in his plays. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men.

Retirement and death

Around 1613, at the age of 49, he retired to Stratford , where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive. He died on 23 April 1616, at the age of 52. He died within a month of signing his will, a document which he begins by describing himself as being in "perfect health". In his will, Shakespeare left the bulk of his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna.

His work

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

Shakespeare's plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

Adapted from Wikipedia

Einstein qualified and became a Swiss citizen but couldn’t find a teaching job so began work as an assistant in the Swiss Patent Office in 1901, where he was passed over for promotion because he had not got to grips with “machine technology”.

However, much of his work was linked to the synchronising of time by mechanical and electrical means, which sowed the seeds that would later transform the understanding of the universe.

His first theoretical paper – on the capillary forces of a straw – was published in a respected journal that same year and by 1905 he was awarded his doctorate by the University of Zurich.

The scientist’s work began to pour out of him – by the end of that year, he published no less than four revolutionary papers on matter and energy; the photoelectric effect; Brownian motion; and the idea that perhaps defined him most of all – special relativity.

Despite the acclaim that he began to accrue, he continued working at the patent office until 1909.

Two years later his work on relativity made him world famous when he concluded that the trajectory of light arriving on Earth from a star would be bent by the gravity of the Sun.

His conclusions ripped up the ideas of Newtonian mechanics which had stood since the 17th century.

They are modest, intelligent, considerate and have a feel for art. [Einstein on the Japanese]

He returned to Germany where he held several prestigious positions, including president of the German Physical Society.

By 1921, his groundbreaking theories had transformed the basics of modern physics and he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

However, it was not given for his most famous work, that of relativity, because it remained too controversial.

Instead, the judges used his explanation of the photoelectric effect to explain the award.

The famous scientist began to lecture worldwide and travelled to Singapore, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Japan, where he spoke before the emperor and declared: “Of all the people I have met, I like the Japanese most, as they are modest, intelligent, considerate and have a feel for art.”

Wherever he went by this stage he was greeted like a head of state or a rock star, with crowds thronging to hear him and cannons fired to salute his arrival.

The rise of Hitler and Nazism persuaded him to move to the US, where he later shed his avowal of pacifism and wrote to President Roosevelt urging him to press ahead with construction of a nuclear bomb to ensure the Germans did not get there first.

There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn. [Robert Oppenheimer on Einstein]

He later said this letter was his life’s biggest regret because nuclear weapons had such a fierce capacity for destruction.

He began work at Princeton University and became a US citizen in 1940 (his third passport) where he was a strident critic of racism, calling it America’s “worst disease”.

Albert Einstein died of internal bleeding on April 17, 1955, aged 76, which was marked with headlines around the world.

But his story did not end there - his brain was removed by the pathologist to try to understand what made him so intelligent.

At his memorial, Robert Oppenheimer, the developer of the atomic bomb which Einstein had backed, said: “He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness.

“There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn.”